Citing news that a major insurer is not covering damages from hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, an Albany-based environmental group is asking a variety of state officials and lawmakers to survey other insurers on their policies.
Environmental Advocates of New York sent a handful of letters late last week to a number of top officials, including Financial Services Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky, Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens and the chairmen of the Legislature’s insurance committees.
Earlier this month, it was revealed that Nationwide Insurance would not cover any hydrofracking-related damages. High-volume fracking, of course, hasn’t yet been allowed in New York as the DEC completes an environmental and regulatory review.
In the letter to Lawsky, executive director Rob Moore asked the Cuomo appointee to “open an inquiry into how insurance companies plan to handle liability coverage for businesses, property owners, and others who hold risk related to fracking.”
“If one of the nation’s largest insurance companies has deemed it too risky to provide coverage to land, property, or equipment that is involved in fracking, it is safe to say that the practice will raise discussion with other insurance companies in New York as well,” Moore wrote.
In his letter to Martens, Moore asked Martens to invite nationwide to speak before the DEC’s High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing Advisory Panel, which is supposed to be looking into financial impacts and benefits of the gas extraction process. (Moore is a member of the panel, which hasn’t met since December.)
The group also requested that the Senate and Assembly hold hearings on the issue of insurers and hydrofracking.
Here’s the letter to Lawsky: